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TGC: Instead of Owning Guns, Defend Others by Standing in Front of Bullets and Tanks for Them

by | Aug 15, 2023 | Gun Control, News, Politics, Religion, Social-Issues, The Church, US, Video | 0 comments

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In a recent conversation with The Gospel Coalition (TGC) in it’s “Good Faith Debates” series, TGC Contributor, Andrew Wilson argued his views on self-defense, gun control, and biblical mandates regarding turning the other cheek. His argument can be generously described as a labyrinth of questionable exegesis, and at its core, it makes several leaps of logic that stretch the biblical text to fit a modern, anti-gun narrative.

Wilson’s response:

I mean, I think it depends what you mean by defense, right? So I think, obviously, the word defense is very slippery because it goes from, if I’m not prepared to kill somebody, I’m not gonna defend them, and I don’t think that’s true at all.

I think there are lots of ways of defending your neighbor, defending your neighbor’s reputation on a stand, literally standing in front of the bullet, standing in front of the tank, whatever it may be, and the Christian tradition’s obviously full of nonviolent ways of defending people.

Wilson’s chief contention revolves around the idea of “defense.” He claims that defense is a slippery term and suggests that it encompasses more than just the physical protection of oneself or others. While this may be true, Wilson diminishes the reality that, at times, the physical defense of one’s life or the lives of loved ones requires physical force.

Wilson suggests that the term “defense” has been hijacked as a euphemism for gun ownership and argues that the two are not synonymous. By that logic, we could say that freedom of speech is merely a euphemism for shouting deadly threats from the rooftops. But we don’t, because we understand the nuances of that right and respect its boundaries.

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Expanding on Wilson’s absurd argument brings to light even more glaring inconsistencies. He seems to suggest that rather than exercising the right to self-defense using firearms or other means, an individual should nobly and altruistically stand in front of a tank or bullet to protect another. But let’s dissect this notion for a moment. Say an intruder invades a home with the intention of harm. If the homeowner, following Wilson’s approach, nobly steps in front of a bullet or a figurative tank to save another, what then? Would the intruder simply leave, inspired by this act of sacrifice? Or is it far more likely, as logic would dictate, that once you’re eliminated, the intruder would simply proceed to harm the next target? Wilson’s approach effectively doubles the tragedy rather than mitigating it.

Therefore, pressing Wilson’s argument to its logical end: Should we, when threatened, simply offer intruders a seat at our dining tables, hoping that goodwill might prevail? Or, guided by a mix of biblical wisdom and common sense, should we exercise the right to protect the vulnerable with the necessary force? The government, with its police and armies, may have the mandate to protect its citizens, but in the immediate face of danger, individual citizens are often the first and last line of defense. Advocating for a passive, always peaceful approach, even in life-threatening situations, isn’t just naive—it plunges headlong into dangerous absurdity.

When Jesus speaks of turning the other cheek in Matthew 5:39, the context is one of personal insult, not a life-threatening situation. It is a teaching against retaliation and revenge, not a call for pacifism in the face of grave danger. To conflate Jesus’ teaching on personal insults with defending oneself or others in peril is to misread the text and apply it out of context.

The Bible makes it clear that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). It implies that every human life carries intrinsic value. In situations where a threat is imminent, it isn’t un-Christian to defend that image—whether it’s oneself or someone else.

The Bible doesn’t shy away from self-defense and even arming ourselves with deadly force. Nehemiah encouraged the Jews to be ready to defend themselves while rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 4:17-18). While Wilson may want to disentangle the term “defense,” the Bible is clear that at times, defense requires action, resolve, and yes, force.

Wilson’s attempt to redefine ‘defense’ and his effort to detach it from the realities of gun ownership is a misguided exercise in semantics. While there are non-violent methods of defense and they should be championed where appropriate, there are situations that demand immediate, physical responses. It is not only a constitutional right but also aligns with a biblical perspective that understands the sanctity and value of life.

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